The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce won a trademark infringement lawsuit recently against a German department store over its unauthorized use of the Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s the first time that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has taken legal action internationally to protect its iconic mark.
The Mensing department store in Dorsten, Germany, along with Schleifenbaum Design & Project, was sued after the Hollywood Sign’s licensing company, Global Icons, uncovered Mensing’s Hollywood-themed shop featuring a Hollywood sign and several Hollywood Walk of Fame “stars.” Both the store and the design firm were offered a licensing deal, but they claimed that the Chamber of Commerce had no enforceable trademark rights to the Hollywood sign nor global recognition.
A German court ruled in the Chamber’s favor. “The court’s determination that these companies violated the Chamber’s rights sends a message that companies outside the U.S. cannot violate our trademark and other rights,” said Leon Gubler, Hollywood Chamber President & CEO.
First created as an advertisement for a real estate development (“Hollywoodland”) in 1923, the Hollywood sign was originally built to last only 18 months. A 1978 effort to restore the sign resulted in $27,777 donations for each letter. Interestingly, singer Alice Cooper’s donation for the letter “O” was made in memory of Groucho Marx. Other donees included Hugh Hefner and Andy Williams. The sign has been a familiar image in movies, including ‘Hollywoodland’ and recently, ‘Argo.’
Have you seen any other iconic city signs around the world?